Posts Tagged ‘2000 AD. Big Dog’

The World Moves Towards the Metalzoic: American Military Wants Robot Cheetahs

December 12, 2013

Metalzoic Cover

I found this interesting little snippet over on Youtube. It’s a CNN report on the US military’s programme to develop robot warriors and vehicles. DARPA has already produced the four-legged robot vehicle, Big Dog, to carry trooper’s equipment in the battlefield. It’s been commented that Big Dog moves remarkably like a real animal, and its attempts to right itself when someone attempts to knock it over is indeed very eerily like that of a biological creature.

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It reminded me very strongly of this creature, a robot sabre-toothed lion, from the 1980s 2000 AD strip, Metalzoic.

Metalzoic Lion.

Beginning in Prog 483, Metalzoic was a strip about a group of primitive robotic humanoids, the Mekaka, attempting to survive in a far future world dominated by robots. Written by that pillar of the British comics industry, Pat Mills, and drawn by Kevin O’Neill, the strip had originally been published by DC Comics across the Atlantic. It was set in the far future, after the collapse of the Earth’s magnetic field in the 24th century had wiped out most of the animal life on Earth. These had been replaced by their robot counterparts, who had been given the ability to reproduce, so that almost the planet’s entire ecology was robotic. The far-future world envisaged by the strip was very much like that of Earth’s prehistory. The robotic humanoids, the Robosapiens were the robot counterparts of early humans. Apart from robot sabre-toothed cats, there were also robotic sharks, giraffes and mammoths. These machine creatures were based on or shared features with contemporary machines. The robot sharks looked somewhat like submarines, the giraffes based on cranes and the robot mammoths bore more than a little similarity to trucks. The robosapiens’ leader was the violent and brutal Armageddon, who was leading them on a mission to find and kill the Godbeast. This was the leader of a herd of robot mammoths, which carried the master programme guiding and controlling robot evolution on Earth. Armageddon succeeded in killing the Godbeast, and taking from it the master programme. This allowed Armageddon and his tribe to become the dominant creatures on Earth.

Metalzoic Cast.

Following the geological time charts, Metalzoic had its own showing the evolutionary epochs leading up to and including the Metalzoic, including the Humanic, the Necromic, and the Robocene.

Metalzoic timeline

With Darpa’s proposed development of robot animals, and eventually, humanoid robot warriors, it seems we are not quite in the strip’s Humanic period. This was the period where humans were still dominant, but robots were commonplace and some, built to colonise other world, had been given the ability to reproduce themselves. Nevertheless, that may become a reality in the next few decades. Other documentaries have shown a robot factory in Japan, where the robots are busy making other robots. Nevertheless, the machine ecology of Metalzoic is still a long way off. It’s a disturbing thought that the robotic world Mills and O’Neill created for entertainment way back in the ’80s may become a reality due to humanity’s desire to find ever more efficient ways of murdering people.

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